Britney Spears conservatorship: Timeline as singer to address court for first time in 13 years

·5-min read
Britney Spears conservatorship: Timeline as singer to address court for first time in 13 years
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Britney Spears is set to address a court on Wednesday (23 June) for the first time in years in her ongoing conservatorship battle.

The singer has been under a legal guardianship since 2008, with her father Jamie and other legal guardians managing her financial and personal life.

However, Spears has shown resistance to the situation in recent years, with her lawyers stating that she wants the conservatorship to change and her father to be removed from it.

Here’s a timeline of Spears’s conservatorship so far...

January 2007

Amid her divorce from Kevin Federline, Spears spends one day in rehab in Antigua. The next day, she infamously shaves her head at a salon and admits herself to a treatment facility in the coming weeks.

October 2007

Having split from ex-husband Kevin Federline the year before, Spears loses custody of her two sons to him. The reasons for the court ruling are not made public, but Federline claims that Spears has been behaving erratically and abusing substances.

January 2008

Spears is involuntarily committed to a psychiatric hospital for a second time. Her father Jamie Spears and attorney Andrew Wallet are granted temporary conservatorship the following month.

October 2008

Spears on stage in 2008 (Getty Images)
Spears on stage in 2008 (Getty Images)

Spears’s conservatorship is extended indefinitely, with a judge citing the complexity of her financial situation and stating that she is “susceptible to undue influence”.

November 2008

MTV releases the documentary Britney: For the Record, in which the singer compares her circumstances to a jail sentence with no end.

September 2016

Spears has released three albums – Femme Fatale (2011), Britney Jean (2013), Glory (2016) – with little public attention on her conservatorship. However, reports emerge that while filming The Jonathan Ross Show, the singer allegedly told the presenter about the conservatorship, saying: “I’ve been under this conservatorship for three years and I felt like a lot of decisions were made for me.” However, the rumoured comments do not air with the show.

January 2019

The singer is due to begin a new Las Vegas residency off the back of another, but instead announces an “indefinite work hiatus”, citing her father’s health after he “almost died” in hospital.

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“It’s important to always put your family first… and that’s the decision I had to make,” she writes. “I had to make the difficult decision to put my full focus and energy on my family at this time. I hope you all can understand.”

March 2019

Andrew Wallet voluntarily resigns as Spears’s co-conservator, making Jamie the sole conservator. Over a year later, he asks to be reinstated, but the singer’s lawyers state he is “uniquely unsuitable” for the role. Jamie eventually withdraws petition for Wallet’s reinstatement.

May 2019

Spears reportedly appears in probate court to ask the judge to ease restrictions imposed by the conservatorship and give her more freedom.

August 2019

Spears’s teenage sons are granted a restraining order against Jamie after he is allegedly involved in a “physical altercation” with one of them.

September 2019

Jamie is replaced as his daughter’s conservator by professional conservator Jodi Montgomery, while citing health reasons for his temporary removal from managing her personal life. He still oversees her finances.

Performing in 2018 (Getty Images)
Performing in 2018 (Getty Images)

July 2020

Spears’s brother Bryan claims on a podcast that Spears has wanted the conservatorship to end for “quite some time”, adding: “She’s always wanted to get out of it.”

August 2020

Jamie calls the #FreeBritney movement a “conspiracy theory” and a “joke”.

Later that month, legal documents show that Spears is attempting to remove her father from her conservatorship, saying that she is “strongly opposed” to him returning to control of her personal affairs.

September 2020

The singer’s lawyers file an objection to the conservatorship case being closed off from the public, stating: “The world is watching.”

November 2020

Judge Brenca Penny does not remove Jamie as Spears’s conservator, but appoints the Bessemer Trust as a co-conservator.

February 2021

The New York Times’s Framing Britney Spears documentary is released, sparking public conversation about the treatment of Spears and other celebrities by the tabloids in the 2000s and reigniting interest in the #FreeBritney fan campaign.

Spears’s boyfriend Sam Asghari writes on Instagram that Jamie is a “total d***” who tried to control their relationship.

The singer and boyfriend Sam Asghari (Getty Images)
The singer and boyfriend Sam Asghari (Getty Images)

March 2021

Spears’s lawyers formally ask Jamie to resign from his role as conservator. Their statement also claims that Spears “expressly reserves the right to petition for termination of this conservatorship”.

Jamie’s lawyers claim that the performer can end the conservatorship at “any time” but has chosen not to.

Spears says in a since-deleted Instagram post that she felt “embarrassed” watching the beginning of Framing Britney Spears and cried for two weeks after it.

April 2021

Spears’s attorney Ingham says the singer wants to schedule a status hearing “on an expedited basis” in order to address the court directly. The date of 23 June is set and while no details of what she intends to say are revealed, the lawyer says it will pertain to the “status of the conservatorship”.

June 2021

One day before Spears appears in court (on 23 June), a New York Times report emerged claiming that the singer had previously denounced the conservatorship as “oppressive and controlling”, pushing back against it “earlier and more often” than previously known. It also unveiled court documents from 2016 claiming that Jamie had extreme “control” over her life, restricting everything from “whom she dated to the colour of her kitchen cabinets”.

On Wednesday, Spears will virtually address the court. If judge Brenda Penny does not make a last-minute decision to seal the proceedings, Spears’s words will be heard in open court for the first time in the 13-year conservatorship.

If you are experiencing feelings of distress and isolation, or are struggling to cope, Samaritans offers support. You can speak to someone in confidence over the phone on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email jo@samaritans.org, or visit the Samaritans website here.

If you are based in the USA, and you or someone you know needs mental health assistance right now, call National Suicide Prevention Helpline on 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The Helpline is a free, confidential crisis hotline that is available to everyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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